Tablets and smart devices are evolving. While standard tablet devices offer users the ability to download apps, surf the internet, play games, take photos as well as make VOIP calls… very few actually offer users the ability to make and receive phone calls using a carrier SIM card. Asus has now met this demand with its latest low-cost tablet/smartphone hybrid device.
The Asus Fonepad (FE171CG) is essentially a dual-SIM device, which also supports the ability to send and receive SMS as well as MMS messages. The device runs Android 4.4, and is powered by a 1.2GHz Dual Core Intel Atom processor. To add to this, the Asus Fonepad 7 packs in a 2MP front facing camera as well as a 8MP rear facing camera.
One thing that impressed us about the Asus Fonepad 7 is how smoothly it runs its operating system with the Asus’ ZenUI interface. During my time with the device, it never seemed to slow down or struggle. Even while using graphically intensive apps and games, the device never under performed.
Looking at the design of the Asus Fonepad 7, you can clearly see that it is a solid and elegant device. The Asus Fonepad 7 weighs in at 280 grams, which makes it light enough to be used as a primary device. Additionally, it is a petite device and is 7.9mm thick and is 11cm wide. This makes it small enough to fit into a handbag, briefcase or backpack. While the device is slim and trim, you may find it difficult to place the device into your pocket – which makes it essential to obtain an additional cover for the device.
While the Asus Fonepad 7 is not entirely pocket friendly, it does however feature an eye catching 7-inch, LED Backlight, WSVGA (1024×600) display. The display is perfect for reading Ebooks, watching movies, scrolling through social media as well as viewing business related documentation. In addition to the fantastic display, the Asus Fonepad 7 has a battery life of between 9 hours to 11 hours – which will depend on how the device is used and what applications are running in the background.
Moving onto sound quality. The Asus Fonepad 7 features a rather impressive front facing speaker, which is located just above the display. According to Asus, the speaker features SonicMaster Technology, which directs sound towards you. When streaming video, as well as listening to a variety of music tracks, the Asus Fonepad 7 pushes out high-quality audio that is crystal clear. Granted, the volume levels won’t entirely blow the door off your office, but they are loud enough for a comfortable listening experience. In addition to the sound quality, the Asus Fonepad 7 has enough storage space for all your music, movies and games. The device comes standard in 8GB and 16GB models; however, storage can be expanded with the Micro SD Card Reader, which supports up to 64GB SDHC.
When it comes to making calls, the Asus Fonepad 7 is definitely something to get used to. It may feel slightly out of place at first; however, as time passes you barely realise that you are making calls with a tablet device. To add to this, the Asus Fonepad 7 offers up superb call quality when making or receiving calls.
Not a lot of tablets offer consumers the ability to make and receive calls; however, Asus has met the need. To add to this, the Asus Fonepad 7 can also send and receive MMS and SMS messages – which was a great move by the company as this allows users to connect with individuals who may not have a smartphones or feature device.
In terms of the design of the Asus Fonepad 7, you can see that it is a solid yet elegant device… especially with its rounded edges, streamlined chassis and high gloss finish. Coming in at only 7.9mm thick and 11cm wide, the Asus Fonepad 7 is great to work with. The device fits quite comfortably in the palm of your hand and does not feel overbearing or too intrusive during use. On the downside however, due to its size, the Asus Fonepad 7 is not the most comfortable device to place in your pocket; however, it does fit into a handbag, briefcase, or backpack quite nicely.
When it comes to performance, the Asus Fonepad 7 features a powerful Intel processor, which can easily handle multiple tasks as well as deliver an immersive gaming experience. While most devices tend to have a battery life of 6-8 hours, we got roughly between 9-11 hours battery life out of the device.
Overall, the Asus Fonepad 7 is definitely a device to look at if you are looking for a combination tablet/smartphone. The Asus Fonepad 7 retails for R 1,999.00 (8GB)/R 2,299 (16GB).